It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer. The grey skies and morning drizzle may beg to differ, but with Electric Picnic’s lineup launched festival season is right around the corner. LCD Soundsystem and Lana Del Rey are among the headliners at Stradbally this year, while superstars Kendrick Lamar and The National will top the Longitude bill at Marley Park in July. Although there are still plenty of more acts to be revealed for both, it looks like another excellent year for Irish festivals in 2016.
If you failed to get your hands on a Picnic ticket after they sold out in record time, or maybe this year the idea of stubbornly dressing in your wannabe Coachella outfit in the unpredictable Irish climate doesn’t appeal to you, there may be an alternative. I’m not suggesting hopping on the plane to Palm Springs; there are so many amazing festivals in Europe every summer that are reasonably priced – much more so than our indigenous offerings. Of course accommodation and flights are an additional cost but if you’ve been working part time then a festival abroad could be the perfect vacation. Here are several festivals well worth looking into:
Sziget (Budapest, Hungary): Fancy taking a trip to “The Island of Freedom?” Sziget is a week long music festival that takes place on a 266-acre island in the Danube river in August. It’s been labeled the European equivalent of Burning Man and has hosted an array of legendary acts over the years such as The Prodigy, Kings of Leon, and Blur. This year The Last Shadow Puppets, and Muse are among the first to be confirmed. As well as the fantastic music, the festival also has a range of other activities available such as bungee jumping and life-sized foosball. A seven day pass is €249 while a five day pass costs €215.
Melt! (Grafenhainichen, Germany): Any electronic or pop music fans would do well to check out this festival. Known for its all night music (the sleepless floor festivities are ongoing from the minute gates open till they shut) Melt! has seen the likes of Kylie Minogue, M83 and Portishead grace its dramatic stages, set amongst the giant industrial machinery of the Ferropolis open-air museum. Not a fan of camping? You could sleep on a train instead. For an additional €199, the Mixery Melt! Train will take passengers from Amsterdam to the Festival grounds with private beds and sanitary areas for all guests for duration of the festival. A three day ticket costs €136. Disclosure, CHVRCHES and Two Door Cinema Club play at Melt! this July.
NOS Alive (Lisbon, Portugal): Listed as one of the top twelve European music festivals by NME, the Portuguese festival boasts a stellar line up once again with Arcade Fire, Radiohead and The Chemical Brothers. NOS Alive is unique in that shows don’t start till 6pm and run through the night till 6am. Its prime location in the sunny capital of Portugal in July mean that there are several beaches and surfing spots a mere ten minutes away by train. It sounds like the summer we’ve all been dreaming of. Tickets for NOS Alive are €56 per day or €119 for three days. Camping is available but must be purchased with the ticket.
Exit (Novi Sad, Serbia): The Guardian called it the best festival in the world in 2006. Ten years later, it’s still pretty great. Founded in 2000, the festival came about as a student movement, in the fight for freedom in Serbia. Originally taking place in Novi Sad’s University park, the festival was relocated to the beautiful 18th Century Petrovaradin fortress. Ellie Goulding, Wiz Khalifa and Bastille are all set to play this year. The festival takes place in July and the Exit package costs €149 which includes your ticket, accommodation and airport transfer.